Lollapalooza is such a big deal, guys. For years, Chicago’s Grant Park has hosted this prestigious three-day fest, one that has typically been on par with Coachella’s amazing lineup. Lolla is the festival you hold out for — the one you come back from one summer and immediately make plans to attend the next.
Which is why, to a great extent, what Lolla has to offer this year is so disappointing. The lineup is an exhausted list of artists we’ve seen before, such as headliners OutKast, Arctic Monkeys and Skrillex, all of which are already attending a number of festivals earlier in the season. Not to discredit the esteem these guys deserve as fronting the festival, but given that Lolla is slated for August’s first weekend, I would reckon that this will be the second or third time some goers hear these sets. Same goes for the artists in the smaller print on the lineup sheet, who might be more worthwhile catching at shows outside of the festival.
All this said, I’m clearly in a minority given the speed at which passes were sold. Unless you plan to do a travel or “platinum” package for the festival (the former costing more than $1,500), you’re pretty much S.O.L. in attempting to go — three-day passes (starting at $250) sold out before the lineup came to light, and single-day tickets ($100) were cleared shortly after the announcement. If you snagged one of those tickets pre-lineup regretfully, sell it to a chump. Otherwise, below I’ve outlined five acts I couldn’t completely shrug off.
1. Nas (Aug. 2)
Nas, a clear stand-out in the upper-realm of Lolla, is not a rapper to pass up. Whether one is ignorantly and blissfully chatting up his 1994 debut “Illmatic” or delving into something more recent, Nas is just steps away from being a legend. He’s heading over to Coachella in Indio, Calif., too, but Lolla might serve as a closer spot to see the rapper.
2. The Kooks (Aug. 1)
Mostly a throwback band here. With the Kooks, as a run-of-the-millennial, it was all about the first record, 2006’s “Inside In/Inside Out.” I was far more geeked about the Kooks then, because of how preciously protruding their British accents were in the music (“how exotic,” I write, dreamy-eyed) and their knack for writing definitively indie-pop songs that I wish I could have written as a teenager. I think I might have just convinced myself to go to Lolla.
3. Cut Copy (Aug. 2)
If Cut Copy’s Newport show last week reflected anything, it was that the group knows how to perform without making it look tedious. This group of Australian dance-rockers could probably play for hours without more than a singular bead of sweat coming from their collective scalps. They will continually be on point for every breakdown, crafting moments where you can’t help but invite yourself to the party.
4. The So So Glos (Aug. 1)
The So So Glos opened for best buds Diarrhea Planet last year in Columbus and that position alone might hit on their brash demeanor. They’re a bunch of cell phone-hating, not-afraid-to-call-you-out New Yorkers, whose pop-punk generates the pride of Bruce Springsteen but the exertion of any ‘ol-fashioned punk band.
5. Blood Orange (Aug. 1)
Significantly less high-energy, the project of musician/producer Dev Hynes is a hard one to pin down. “Cupid Deluxe,” his most recent record from 2013, seems to be largely an R&B work with a dash of what maybe is new wave and funk. Nonetheless, it’s an extravagant album from the frequent collaborator — work with Sky Ferreira and Solange, among others, make his curriculum vitae — putting Hynes’ Blood Orange one of the most interesting, and refreshing, artists to make the lineup.